RAF emergency declared over Exeter as Chinook helicopter sends 7700 ‘squawk code’

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The twin-turbo HC2 helicopter is flying at an altitude of 100ft and a speed of 114.6kts, according to a post on Twitter from aircraft and satelitte tracking service SkyScanWorld. The Twitter post read: “RAF – Boeing Chinook. Currently squawking emergency squawk 7700 around Exeter.”

Squawk codes are assigned to every flight before departure and the four digits can be between zero and seven.

The most well-known of these is the code 7700, which is used to indicate a general emergency.

A pilot will enter this when they are aware they are in an emergency situation, either instructed by Air Traffic Control after declaring an emergency or without communication.

This means all tracking ground controllers will be clearly informed the aircraft has an emergency and should be given appropriate assistance.

This could include any type of air emergency or a serious ‘Mayday’ situation.

Among these could be engine failure, pressurisation issues, other technical problems on the aircraft or a medical emergency.

On Thursday, a separate RAF emergency unfolded after a Hawk T2 jet emitted a 7700 squawk signal near Holyhead in Wales.

Later that day, a Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter issued an ’emergency’ squawk while over the English Channel.

It was unknown why the 7700 signal was transmitted, but SkyScanWorld said soon after normal service on the flight had resumed.


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